Free Water from Well in National City Draws Crowds

The cost of water is on many San Diegans' minds as California trudges through a fourth year of severe, record-setting drought conditions. 

In National City, one little-known spot where water is completely free has drawn some crowds. 

The free water station on East Fourth Avenue, right by the Interstate 805 freeway, draws water from a well just a few hundred yards away. 

The Sweetwater Authority water district took over ownership of the wells in 1977 when the district formed, according to a spokeswoman.

Part of the deal struck with the City of National City included maintaining one free water station for people who want it.

A water district spokeswoman said the public is welcome to use this water, even those from outside of National City.

NBC7 talked to people from all over the county today filling up their water jugs with the free water.
Including Jonathan McClain of Southeast San Diego who brought his grandchildren to help fill up Gatorade bottles of water on Wednesday.

He said he's been coming to this water station since he was a child.

"I'm thinking it's because it's cleaner. It tastes better. And I don't know maybe it's a habit. The kids like to come out here too," McClain said.

Even during the drought, the well and water seem fair to him.

"I don't who it wouldn't be fair to," McClain said. "It's free water, I've seen people out here, met people out here and it's just people wanting filtered water."

According to the State Water Resources Control Board, there are other such systems across the state in Dublin, San Francisco, San Lorenzo, Oakland, Escondido, Novato and San Rafael. Those systems are some of the newer ones, said Andrew DiLuccia, Public Information Officer for the State Water Resources Control Board. However, similar places are located throughout the state. 

A Sweetwater Authority spokeswoman said the district has not seen an uptick in use of the free water since the drought began.

The station delivers an average of about 728 gallons of water a day to residents.

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